Last year in 2016, we had some time in between housesits. What better way to use that time than to take off to a few countries we had not explored before, the one that we enjoyed tremendously was Portugal.
It all began with a flight from Dublin to Porto. The contrast of the city of Dublin to Porto was palatable; we fell in love with Porto straight away. A local woman greeted us, as we reached the terminal with instructions on where to go to get the correct train tickets that we needed to arrive at our accommodation. This service was for all new visitors. That initial warm greeting was to signify how the rest of our stay was to be.
With the information that was given to us, it was effortless to work out the light rail system to arrive at our accommodation.
This apartment was a bit more expensive than the others we had booked, and it was worth every cent. Airy, quiet, clean and just really comfortable to relax and sleep after a day exploring. Sleep is definitely a high requirement when travelling for an extended period, or is that an age-related condition?.
It was the little things about this city that stood out for us, like the group of men that meet every day at the same time, we found this out by having a chat with a man who was sitting next to us on the park bench.
Under the tree playing cards.
The water feature in the park across from our apartment.
The elderly woman with her long skirt which billowed in the wind as she made her way home up the steep steps. She had apparently been to the market, as her basket was full of food. This is when I took a deep breath and walked faster up the steps, I had no excuse to give up after this seeing this woman’s effort. Which brings me to say for a city with extremely steep streets there were provisions for the disabled or people who could not physically do them, in the form of a tram. This was a relief for the squire and I as it would’ve made our time here not a pleasant experience.
Ceramic tiles made the many terracotta buildings come alive with colour. A happy and creative sight, a treat to behold in between terracotta-coloured stone blocks.
Beautiful church. Unfortunately the first few days in Oporto there was a smokey atmosphere due to significant bushfires not far from the city. It’s very unusual not to see blue skies during summer.
Then there was the quirkiness of people. Walking around town on a quiet Sunday morning saw us ducking and diving while a flock of pigeons descended from the roofs, aiming for a man that was walking towards us. The calm atmosphere restored when the man feeds the birds. Obviously, a regular thing in this old part of town.
While wandering around the streets in a slow amble, which we love to do, we came across a concert of traditional music and dancing, pleasurable way to spend time and to rest our sore feet at the same time. Yes, we did see some of the touristy places such as Taylors Port and indulged in a few glasses. Overindulged in eating the most delicious Pastéis de Nata. Luckily we could work it off, and one great workout was walking on the bridge, got out of my comfort zone on that walk as this girl doesn’t like heights! We also took in a few museums and art exhibitions.
The most fun was coming across locals enjoying life as they live it.
PLUS buying unique art from creative collective artist shops.